Yesterday Netflix announced a new policy that’s getting them lots of attention: Unlimited Maternity and Paternity Leave during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption.
The new was announced by Netflix’s Chief Talent Officer, Tawni Cranz, in a blog post.
“At Netflix, we work hard to foster a “freedom and responsibility” culture that gives our employees context about our business and the freedom to make their own decisions along with the accompanying responsibility. With this in mind, today we’re introducing an unlimited leave policy for new moms and dads that allows them to take off as much time as they want during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption.
We want employees to have the flexibility and confidence to balance the needs of their growing families without worrying about work or finances. Parents can return part-time, full-time, or return and then go back out as needed. We’ll just keep paying them normally, eliminating the headache of switching to state or disability pay. Each employee gets to figure out what’s best for them and their family, and then works with their managers for coverage during their absences.
Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field. Experience shows people perform better at work when they’re not worrying about home. This new policy, combined with our unlimited time off, allows employees to be supported during the changes in their lives and return to work more focused and dedicated.”
The new policy seems unnecessary since Netflix already has an unlimited time off policy. However, by adding in this specific policy, it will encourage new parents to take the time off they need.
Some critics to the program wonder if it might actually be a way for employees to take less time off. Early adopters to unlimited vacation actually found that employees took less time off, no longer having a gauge on what was appropriate number of days to be absent. And, companies that do have these policies do expect employees to make sure their roles are being covered. As Richard Branson explained when Virgin announced an “unlimited” vacation policy “the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a hundred per cent comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers!”
What are your thoughts? A great perk for Netflix employees? Or a backhanded way to keep employees in the office?